As part of my Bachelor’s degree, I spent a semester in Canada in collaboration with MicroEDU (CC). Since the organization and communication worked flawlessly, it was clear to me that I would also organize my second semester abroad as a free mover with the help of CC.
In my search, I only looked at English-speaking countries and initially concentrated on North America, as I’ve already had such good experiences there. I finally became aware of the London South Bank University (LSBU), because it is comparatively cheap, especially for the Masters, and of course, with London, it offers an extremely attractive environment. It is recommended to start organizing one to one and a half years before the start of the semester abroad. To be honest, I think this is a bit excessive. The application process is pretty straightforward and the application period is also very generous. The same applies to the dormitory. Admittedly, my time management was very bad and I would definitely not recommend that you do the same, but personally I only decided on the LSBU and applied for a good two and a half months before the start of the semester.
The LSBU is in an excellent location and can be reached on foot in a few minutes by anyone who opts for a room in one of the dormitories. Incidentally, this applies to all buildings and facilities of the LSBU, as these are adjacent to one another and are not distributed over the city or similar.
In contrast, the quality of teaching and the standards of the university are rather mixed. In the master’s program, you usually choose three courses each with 20 UK credit points, which corresponds to 10 ECTS and thus a total of 30 ECTS. The courses mostly consisted of a lecture and a seminar each a two hours. Thus the present time was only twelve hours per week.
Overall, I haven’t actually learned anything new and actually already had most of the content in my bachelor’s degree. I found the general level of education of fellow students in the master’s degree to be alarmingly low, which is probably due to the high proportion of different educational backgrounds. The grade of the modules is usually composed of a written exam and other services such as case studies or group presentations, which I personally liked. In contrast, the grading was sometimes more demanding than expected, but absolutely okay. For group work, I can only warmly recommend you team up with other Germans (or Scandinavians). Although this does not necessarily correspond to the idea of a semester abroad, you will achieve significantly better grades – which, incidentally, was also confirmed by the professors. Unfortunately, I can say from my own experience, and I have heard the same from some others, that the way of working of many students who come from other countries differs very much from ours, which is reflected in the grades.
International Finance & Decision Making
For me as a finance student in my master’s degree, the content of this course was very boring, which is why I regularly skipped the lecture and seminar. The case study that had to be worked on, on the other hand, was quite interesting. Since the full module grade was allotted to the case study, the workload was very low and the grades were very good.
From the next semester this course will be held by new professors, so my experiences may not be very meaningful. A case study and a three-hour exam accounted for 50 percent each. In terms of content, it was about typical topics of strategic management, which should actually be known to the average master’s student. The case studies were very interesting, but it was a bit tricky to keep to the word limit. Actually, all students had great time pressure in the exam, otherwise it was fair.
Here, too, the professor changes from the coming semester. The lecture was pretty dry. The module consisted of an exam (50 percent), a report (30 percent) and a group presentation (20 percent). In the individual forms of examination, however, it was not really about the content of the lecture, but more about the practical analysis of companies and their market entry strategies, which I personally liked.
Overall, I noticed very positively that it was not – as is often the case at German universities – about memorizing theories, concepts, models or the like, but much more about practical and logical application. Accordingly, we had to prepare comparatively little for the exams.
I can only recommend everyone to move into the dormitory, preferably the McLaren. There you have your own bathroom in your room and you share the kitchen with seven other people. The McLaren is just a three-minute walk from LSBU and a short walk from the London Eye. You won’t find anything comparable in terms of price performance. And more importantly, in this way you automatically come into contact with other people. I have met a few people who have opted for private accommodation based on supposedly bad reviews and who have regretted it very much because they have barely made friends. The standard of the dormitory is also completely okay. Of course the room is not huge, but you have everything you need. The rubbish is picked up in the kitchen every day and cleaned once a week.
I was very lucky with my flat share. We were five women and three men and got on really well. We did a lot and went partying together every week. In fact, I spent a lot of my time with my roommates. Of course it’s a bit of luck and it can turn out completely differently, but in my case it was absolutely the best decision.
Since the apartments are not equipped, you can either bring your things with you, send a package, order via Unikit or buy it on site. The kitchen equipment of UniKit is very bad. The pans and pots looked extremely bad after just a few weeks. So it might be wise to buy these items at Sainbury’s or IKEA instead.
London is an incredibly diverse city and you never get bored. I think you all have an idea that there are plenty of leisure opportunities in one of the largest, most popular and liveliest metropolises in the world and will therefore save me from listing the countless sights individually.
Maybe briefly on the subject of partying: There is a huge range of clubs. However, it is good to know that many clubs already close at three o’clock and people therefore go out much earlier than we usually do in Germany. You also need tickets for numerous parties, which you can buy online in advance using the app. The prices are usually getting more expensive every day, so it is advisable to buy the tickets a few days in advance. There are also many clubs that are relatively chic and have a corresponding dress code, for example, a plain shirt and leather shoes. So it’s best to find out about prices, times, tickets and dress code before you go to a party.
One of the few, but all the greater, disadvantages of London is the price level. According to Mcat-test-centers, the tuition fees at the LSBU are comparatively low (around 3,000 pounds in the master’s degree), the dormitory is a bargain by London standards (620 pounds per month or around 2,800 pounds), but from a German perspective it is quite expensive. Food often has a similar price as in Germany, but in pounds and thus around 20 percent more expensive today. I would estimate my expenses at roughly £ 75 to £ 100 per week (around £ 350 per month, so around £ 1,500).
Of course, the leisure expenses depend heavily on your leisure time behavior. Since I actually partied twice a week and was often in restaurants & bars or the like on the other days and also went shopping from time to time, I had very high expenses. However, I haven’t regretted a pound of it. I knew London was expensive and I didn’t fly over there with the intention of saving money. I would roughly estimate I was spending another £ 500 to £ 600 per month (around £ 2,500).
If I then factor in the expenses for furnishing the room and kitchen, plus the flights, underground and bus journeys, I definitely come to more than 10,000 pounds and thus at least (!) 12,000 euros.
You should know that you will most likely meet a lot of other Germans. You will probably live with at least a few Germans if you choose one of the dormitories. So if you want to speak a lot of English, you may have to be proactive and try to get to know other internationals in the university or from other apartments and dormitories. However, this turns out to be quite difficult, as the locals often stay to themselves. Fortunately, I made a lot of contact with other internationals so that I spoke a lot of English. However, this seemed to me to have been the exception among the Germans. Many, if not most, have spent more than the majority of their time with other Germans. Of course, you have this “problem” in most popular countries or cities. According to my observation, however, this is particularly pronounced at the cheaper universities, since the price is of course an important selection criterion.
My conclusion is very positive. I had a wonderful time in London and would have loved to stay for another semester. I got to know great people from different corners of the world and I was also able to improve my English a lot. At no point have I regretted my choice.
Whether the LSBU is the right choice for you depends on your ideas and expectations. From a purely academic point of view, I think the LSBU is rather unsuitable. However, if you want to have a good time in London, experience a lot and just have fun and at the same time get relatively good grades with a reasonable amount of effort, then you ‘ve come to the right place. In my opinion, the only shortcomings are the high costs and the high proportion of Germans.